What makes a house normal in Los Angeles? How is normality determined? Those are a few of the underlying questions that Bureau Spectacular/Jimenez Lai explores in their project "Five Normal Houses", part of the SHELTER exhibition currently at the A+D Museum. Co-curated by Sam Lubell and Danielle Rago, "SHELTER" has fun with the possibilities that Angelenos can live in their city, and it also addresses L.A.'s evolving cityscape.
"Five Normal Houses" explores five typologies of L.A. domestic architecture that Bureau Spectacular derived from their field research when they ventured out along the L.A. River.
Bureau Spectacular shared more project details with Bustler. Check it out below.
"Along the LA River, there is a language within the typologies of domestic architecture. This raises an important question: just what makes a house normal in LA? If the word shelter suggests a lack of extravagance, what are some of the qualities of normal architectural languages in Southern California, and how does one constitute it? Is it possible to study the techniques of normal, and find applications to the production of almost normal architecture?"
"At the behest of a question, Bureau Spectacular embarked on a field research along the LA River. When we returned from our journey, we noted five particular normal conditions to further pursue. The wet and dry pool culture’s, fascination with vegetations on facade, the car culture and the dingbat, willingness for physical decompartmentalization of the domestic unit, and the asymmetrical mashup in Spanish Styles or Queen Anne Revivals. We propose five applications of normal vocabularies of domestic architecture, spoken with some sense of hyperbole."
Five Case Studies
"To an unsuspecting architecture enthusiast, the Dingbat typology of Los Angeles marks striking similarities with the Le Corbusier masterpiece Villa Savoye (1931). There are several triggers: both domestic architectures, both with floating mass - es detached from the ground to anticipate the stowing away of cars, both supported by a series of slender columns - there are immediately comparable qualities that begs the question: Is Villa Savoye a Dingbat?
In most of the Dingbats we encountered, we are often able to identify two, if not three out of five points in the Five Points of Architecture postulated by Le Corbusier. This discovery compelled us to look further into this parallel. While it is not difficult to find an abundance of pilotis, what we found to be perhaps more stimulating is using the Dingbat towards a misread of status of the Free Facade, Roof Garden and the Ribbon Window..."
A House Apart
"There is a ready willingness in the culture of Los Angeles to accept a house being comprised of a series of detached architectural envelopes. In many cases, we find separations of architectural programs away from the 'house' itself, yielding in other singular and complete envelopes such as garage, shed, cabin, guest house, out house, greenhouse, and so forth. As long as this urbanism of scattered objects are inscribed inside of a single property line, they can still be considered an individual house...
In our proposal, we introduce a collection of architectural objects, where every enclosure contains one single architectural program. Because the objects are not parallel with one another, the gaps between the objects allows for contractions and expansions of spaces. The maagement of the larger and smaller gaps imply a set of domestic stories. From a dog house facing directly at the garage in anticipation for its owner’s return home, to the outdoor hearth that functions as a central piazza of a micro city, or the teenager’s room with a private entry and exit for in case of trouble, this proposal turns domestic architecture into a canvas for a family portrait."
"Within the cultural ethos of Los Angeles, there is a great desire for its citizens to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This obsession is so strong that it compels peo - ple to drink their superfoods, sweat in still poses in heated rooms, or push on truck tires for fitness. Sometimes this desire manifests itself physically: people make their houses green. From foliage facades to greenhouses of plentiful gardens, the healthy aesthetics has become a kind of urban hardware that communicates a lifestyle choice...
At the end of the day, we also want to think about the surface appliqué of the color green. It is a signal for good health, but particularly in Los Angeles it also speaks about a transparency into an alternate reality. Perhaps there is a way to consider a misuse of the color, and what photographic wonders we may be able to accidentally produce."
"Life around the pool is also very important to the development of Southern Californian culture - a drought in the 20th Century became the very foundation of skateboarding as a sport here in California when a creative use the dry pool took place in Dogtown. One could perhaps argue that this event became the first human interaction with an abstract geometry at a scale we are able to perform actions onto. Skatepark in Dogtown Pool Shapes Index The pool, when wet, is the epi - center of romantic imaginations...
In the Pool House, we propose a roof pool that dips into the central living area to create a set of sectional contract ions and expansions. The inverse peaks and valleys provide a series of apt landscape conditions for interior actions. With some swales containing storage, some craters hosting conversation pits, no partitions are really needed to separate programmatic zones."
Queen Anne Revival
"From late 19th Century to the early 20th Century, the Queen Anne style of American architecture was at its peak popularity. This time period was also during a population boom in Los Angeles, and today one can regard the Queen Anne Style a common occurrence. One can often identify some consistent compositional principles with this typology - asymmetrical facades, dominant front-facing gables, overhanging eaves, cantilevered planes, multiple towers with various spires, mixed in with mansard roof, Dutch gables, bay windows, and so forth. While there are other architectural imports to Los Angeles...the Queen Anne stands out as being one of the more fascinating techniques to study because it indiscriminately mashes up of any style from any source material, as long as the compositional logic is maintained.
In our proposal, we decided to stay within the discourse of normalcy by sourcing from architectural parts along the L.A. River (what), whilst painting a white austerity over the techniques of Dujardin (how) and keeping in the back of our minds the comedy of Hamilton and the cuteness of a Miyazaki anime. (why)"
Text and images courtesy of Bureau Spectacular.
Comment as :